Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Social/Personality Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 110 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Monica L Rodriguez

Committee Members

Mark Muraven, Ronald Friedman


depletion, inhibition, rejection sensitvity, self-control, Rejection (Psychology), Self-control, Inhibition

Subject Categories



Self-regulation, also referred to as self-control, has been defined as one's capacity to override, interrupt, and otherwise alter one's responses. According to the strength model of self-control, self-regulatory resources are limited; exerting effort on one task leads to decreased performance on a subsequent task requiring self-control, or depletion of one's self-regulation capacity. Self-control depletion has been the focus of much research in the past decade as lack of self-control has been implicated in many maladaptive interpersonal behaviors such as aggression and decreased helping behaviors. Previous research has demonstrated that being rejected is one way that one's self-regulatory resources can be depleted, and rejected individuals, compared to non-rejected individuals, have also been found to engage in more aggressive and fewer prosocial behaviors. Similarly, research on rejection sensitivity (RS), defined as the tendency to anxiously expect, readily perceive, and overreact to rejection, has shown that individuals high in RS are more aggressive and engage in even fewer prosocial behaviors following perceived rejection. These data suggest that perhaps RS leads the individual to experience a greater degree of self-control depletion following rejection. In addition to the latter hypothesis, the present paper proposes that the mechanism underlying the rejection-depletion effect for RS individuals is the inhibition of thoughts of rejection. Alternative mechanisms are discussed and tested as well, and implications for the negative interpersonal outcomes associated with RS and perceived rejections are discussed.

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